Friday, December 08, 2006

Guaranteed Win Night

I went into our poker game last night determined to play winning poker. I had played extremely loose the two previous nights and was especially reckless post-flop, which was the reason I ended up down $14.00 over those games.

No more crazy bluff raises with nothing. No smooth calling four outers. And most importantly, not tilting if Toast DOES BLUFF RAISE ME with nothing!

Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets him more excited then outwitting me at a poker table. And I’ll give Toast some credit. The bugger tried like hell to get me off my game last night but it wasn’t going to work on Guaranteed Win Night.

We had seven guys out last night: Toast (SLA), Harry (VLA-P), Gary (LP), Jeff (TA-P), Ryan (LA), Vito (LA) and myself (SLA). To sum it up, Toast and I are semi-loose aggressive (he’s tighter than I and more aggro but he plays too many marginal hands preflop to be considered tight), Harry plays a lot of hands and is hard to read because of his strange betting habits (sometimes overbets a pot, sometimes checks with the nuts), Gary is the calling station, Jeff is the rock, Ryan is hyper-aggressive but is certainly picking his spots better these days and Vito plays a lot of pots but raises often and effectively.

The game last night was 'cue announcers voice' No Limit Texas Hold’em with blinds set at $0.25/$0.50 and a $20.00 per person cap per hand. The cap has worked out well as a compromise to the one guy who hates playing no-limit in our game. And what type of player hates no-limit you ask? Well, the calling station, of course.

Let’s get this out of the way first. I absolutely love Gary. Just a great guy. But he’s not cut out for poker in the least. He HATES playing shorthanded (he won’t get out of bed unless there’s at least six guys playing) and despises heads-up play, which in reality is the essence of poker.

I hate to make fun, but here is Gary’s ideal hand (as told in online poker summary style):

Seven Players –
Hero (Gary) on the button with AhAd. UTG limps; MP limps, MP limps, CO limps, Button (Hero) happily limps, SB calls, BB checks.
FLOP As7cAc
Everyone checks to Button; Button checks.
TURN 4d
Everyone checks to Button; Button checks
RIVER Js
Everyone checks to Button; Button checks

Button shows a pair of aces. Button wins the pot ($3.50)
Button: “Whoooooooo”

Ok, maybe even Gary would bet with quads but the gist of the matter is that Gary would rather just play limit poker, have everyone play every hand with no strategy, deception or subtle action involved, turn the cards over and see who has the best hand.

That’s not poker, my friends.

I say all of this only because Gary set a home poker game record by busting out of a capped N/L game less than 15 minutes in. He went through 3 buy-ins in about 8 hands and just walked out.

The last hand says everything you need to know. Gary got involved in a raised pot preflop and called with Ax, both hearts. With three clubs showing on the board, Gary called a $13.00 all-in bet from Toast. Gary had the ass end of a wheel.

Gary: “I got the flush”

Ugh. No you don’t Gare…but Toast has one…and the nuts at that.

On goes Gary’s jacket.

While I make fun, the whole turn of events really sucks, because I love having Gary at the game and I fear that he won’t be playing much anymore. As the guy who organizes the game most of the time, I like to keep everyone as happy and comfortable with the games and stakes as possible. Problem is that Gary is the only one who dislikes N/L and the only one who complains about table stakes. So I don’t know how often we will revert back to Limit when it’s not the consensus game of choice.

Hopefully he comes back to the game because he’s a fun guy to hang around with and I want everyone to have fun when playing, not just the good players like Toasty.

The rest of the night saw some solid gambling and three winners. Toast ended up coming back from far in the hole to profit $15.00. My strategy to play ‘winning poker’ proved successful, as I ended up $30.50 on the night. I made a loose call late in the game on a Toast all-in that went his way but other than that, I played real solid.

The big winner, again, was Vito, who profited almost $90.00 on the night! He doubled up the first time he played as well so I’m sure he’s anxious to play again with us donks sometime soon!

What I REALLY want to do is set up some type of ‘Standings’ chart and have a bit of money kept aside (perhaps a buy-in of $5 per night per player). After each night is over, each player is given points for how profitable they were on the evening and after 10 nights, we disperse the money to the top three players in overall points.

I think this type of ‘Poker Tour’-type of game would make things REALLY interesting late in games, as guys protect their lead or go for broke at the end to try to make up for losses.

I’ll have to consult with pokermaster Toast to see the viability of such a venture.

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